High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin is a standalone novel taking place during World War I. It follows a young woman, Evelyn Marche, through many unique twists and turns as she tries to protect her family while acting as a spy for Allied intelligence.
The actions of Sister Marche are brave and on occasion impetuous. The really heart-wrenching and appealing part of the book relates to a few specific incidences in Evelyn’s life. First, she must learn to accept forgiveness from the Lord and learn to forgive herself for her own actions. Second, she must examine her affections and devotions and decide upon the best course of action given the circumstances. Her emotional struggles are quite poignant.
The story tugs at the heartstrings, but also incites irritation and dislike for those who are aiding the enemy as traitors. One particularly interesting aspect of the book is how the author shows that all involved in the war were suffering, including the German people. She does a nice job of showing compassion for those on both sides of the conflict without condoning the poor choices made. The story has several intense moments and also some true romance.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bethany House Publishers
Violence/Gore: A woman reflects several times on a scene that involves a person being stabbed and killed with a knife, because he was attempting to assault the lady, this scene is also described over the course of 7 pages and includes gunfire, bombs and so forth; an aircraft is shot down and a man is burned to death in the crash; characters speculate about who will be sent before a firing squad; a man speculates about being gassed; report that an injured man was beaten so that his wound reopened and bled; a nurse mentions war injuries that required treatment, but only details such as shrapnel being removed, stitches and blood are mentioned, no graphic descriptions; report of children being grabbed by soldiers; a character dreams that a knife is stabbed into a person’s chest and there is blood; guns are fired and people die from the wounds, including mention of one firing at point blank range into a person’s skull.
Sex/Nudity: A person mentions that women were raped by soldiers; non-married and married characters kiss and embrace; a character thinks about her wedding day and how she and her soon to be spouse will come together physically, but no more details given; it is implied that newly married characters are intimate, but not details.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death of parents, miscarriages, atrocities of war – murder, assault, bombings, shootings, etc.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults consume beer, sherry, cognac, wine and so forth; men smoke pipes, cigarettes and cheroots; report that a person was inebriated.